November in Iran has had its fair share of ongoing unrest across the country. Last Friday, farmers who had gathered at the dried-up Zayanderud riverbed in Isfahan to protest water shortages were met with government security forces and anti-riot guards who brutally attacked them in a bid to quell the demonstration.
As a result, many farmers, and citizens who had joined the protest rally, were wounded in the attack and arrested. The special units of the State Security Force were dispatched to the area and stationed on roads leading to the area to prevent more people from gathering.
Iran Human Rights Monitor (Iran HRM) said, “Security and intelligence forces had sent threatening text messages to the public warning them against participating in the farmers’ protest.”
The farmers’ sit-in protest at the riverbed began on November 7 to protest the Iranian regime’s failure to resolve the water shortage problems and put efficient plans to distribute access to water evenly. By November 19, thousands of Isfahan residents joined the farmers to support their protests, holding gatherings at both the riverbed and on the nearby Khajou Bridge.
Last week, plainclothes security agents attempted to end the sit-in by damaging the protesters’ tents. When this plan failed, anti-riot forces swept in on November 25, running through tents with motorcycles, firing tear gas into the crowd, and setting fire to the tents. The following day, they continued their brutal crackdown, injuring several protesters in the process, and arresting many others.
By Saturday, November 27, at least 100 of Isfahan’s citizens had been wounded in the confrontation and more than 300 had been detained.
In Iranian prisons, the trend of executions continued across the country, bringing November’s total to 28, 26 men and 2 women. Half of the executions were carried out for drug-related charges, while the other half was due to charges of murder.
The death sentence for Arman Abdolali was carried out on November 24 after being postponed six times. As his case contained several ambiguities, there was a large international and domestic outcry to stop his execution but after his seventh time of being taken to solitary confinement, the uproar could no longer save his life.
Waves of arrests also continued across Iran last month. Between November 11 and 14, many Kurdish citizens from the cities of Baneh, Marivan, Saqqez, and Sanandaj were arrested by the regime’s security forces.
Government agents made the arrests without providing written judicial warrants. The arrests were accompanied by violence and insults. The agents ransacked the residences of these Kurdish citizens and confiscated their belongings.
The poor treatment of political prisoners in Iran’s jails is sadly a recurring theme month after month. Many are vehemently denied access to medical treatment and banned from making phone calls or having visitations from their families and friends.
Mohammad Ashtiani, a political prisoner held in the Central Prison of Karaj, suffers from a heart condition that requires him to take specific medicines each day. His family has made several efforts to provide him with vital medication, but the head of the prison will not allow him access to them.
He is currently in prison on a three-year sentence for charges of propaganda against the state, insulting the regime’s leader and for being a supporter of the Iranian Resistance group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
In yet another example in the Central Prison of Urmia, political prisoner Behrouz Shaker has been on hunger strike since November 21 in protest of the pressures imposed on the plaintiffs in his case to withdraw their consent. Mr. Shaker ended his hunger strike after he was given promises to fulfill his demand.